by Krystina Aguilera, MS, ATC, CSCS

Each year, the Department of Health and Human Services dedicates the week starting at Mother’s Day (this year from May 12th to 18th) to spotlighting the unique health concerns of women. To do our part, we’re working to go a step further and turn our educational spotlight toward women all month long! It’s the perfect time to highlight and address the distinct health challenges faced by women in the industrial setting. From wellness exams to understanding the differences of common health conditions in women and men, let’s empower women to prioritize her health and well-being. We Can Do It – together!

Preventative Priorities

Let’s begin with an important note – a wellness exam is separate from a physical examination. Wellness exams are used as a tool to help identify many health conditions and concerns. It focuses on preventative care and overall well-being, including screenings, vaccinations, and discussions about lifestyle habits.

When a healthcare professional can obtain a medical and family history along with other special tests such as vitals or bloodwork, this information can be used to identify many health risks. It is imperative to keep up on annual wellness exams with your primary care physician. Wellness exams not only help identify any health concerns but also lead to early treatment and prevention of future complications.

Pointing Out Prevalence

According to Northwestern Medicine, there are many health conditions more prevalent in women compared to men. It’s important to know some of the signs and symptoms, as they may present differently in women as compared to men. Let’s take a look at some highlights:

  • Heart disease – the number one cause of death for women. Women may dismiss heart attack symptoms (shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting) as working too hard or heartburn.
  • Stroke – Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) can increase a women’s risk for stroke.
  • Diabetes – women are more susceptible to diabetes-related complications versus men.
  • Breast cancer – monthly self-examinations along with a yearly mammogram can help to identify changes and create opportunity for early detection.
  • Osteoporosis – the disease that causes the bones to become brittle and weak can affect women working in the industrial setting more so as job requirements often include many hours of continuous standing and lifting of heavy objects.

Pregnancy Protocols

The CDC reports that 75% of women are of reproductive age in the workforce. Women specifically working in the industrial setting are often required to continuously lift objects ranging from 25-60 pounds. The CDC has proposed lifting guidelines that should be followed to prevent any health concerns or injury risks of both mother and fetus.

Pressure Points

According to The National Institute for the Occupational Safety and Health, 60% of women reported stress as their number one work issue. Stress related illnesses are nearly twice as high in women when compared to men. Job stress can be connected with cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, depression, and burnout.

Empowering each woman with knowledge and proactive health strategies ensures a safer workplace and a healthier, more vibrant future for all.

Krystina Aguilera, MS, ATC, CSCS || Krystina received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino, and her master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University, CA. In addition to the industrial setting, Krystina has worked in the secondary and clinical setting. Krystina’s interests include manual therapy techniques and return-to-play post ACLR. When not at work Krystina is either binge watching Grey’s Anatomy or out hiking with her two dogs Oliver and Randall.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!